A Revelation … on the Brink of Suicide
I had an interesting discussion the other day, with a man at my local cafe about what it means to be a Christian. His “Christian” perspective made me realise how much people are, en masse, missing out on, when it comes to Jesus and all that He came to bring us. So I just wanted to share a few thoughts that had their genesis in me, on the brink of suicide.
The Cafe Discussion + The Facebook Post
Paul (the man at the cafe) asked me about a Facebook post that I’d put up during a recent trip to India, referring to that land as “the land of the lost”.
I explained that as a country which is 80% Hindu, millions of people are headed to a Christless eternity. They are, in biblical terms, “lost”.
“Hang on a minute,” says Paul. “Isn’t that just a bit arrogant? I come from a Christian perspective, but claiming that your way is the right way, that your way is the only way, well, it just seems a bit arrogant to me.”
Fair enough. I get where he’s coming from.
We live in a pluralistic world that says “Your truth is your truth, my truth is my truth and so long as it works for each of us, let’s not try to shove our belief systems down each others’ throats.”
Anything that cuts across this 21st century gospel of Pluralism is seen as being offensive, or as Paul put it, arrogant.
The bottom line for Paul and indeed many other people who perhaps also “come from a Christian perspective,” is that pluralism trumps absolutism.
And indeed, the reason that Christianity is offensive to so many people, is that it claims to be, “the only way”.
Really?! In this day and age? How dare they …
So, is Jesus the Only Way?
I explained to Paul, as I have shared with many other people in the past, why I hold that position. It’s not something that I dreamed up, or which (thank God!) the church dreamed up. It’s actually something that Jesus said to His disciples just before He was led away to be crucified:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:1-7)
So my belief, the Christian belief, is that the only way to receive eternal life is to believe in Jesus. To believe that He is who He said He is – the Son of God, that He died to pay for all our sins and that He rose again to give us a new life, an eternal life with Him.
So – love it or hate it, agree with it or disagree with it – that’s what Jesus said and it is that faith in Him, which is the cornerstone of Christian belief.
Of Course Rejecting Jesus is Nothing New
People have been rejecting Him since He was born. The religious leaders objected to Him so much that they had Him crucified.
Sometimes Christians become all tribalistic about “people not accepting them”. We’re meant to accept what other people say and think, but as soon as we voice an opinion, we’re shot down.
“There is only one way” … “I am against same-sex marriage” … for instance, are incredibly unpopular positions to hold these days. We think this rejection is something new. But just after Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Apostle Peter had this to say to the religious people who had rejected Him:
This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12)
Jesus Himself said:
“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. (John 15:18-21)
Just because the majority thinks one way, doesn’t mean that it’s the right way. There are plenty of examples of that in history.
But the truth, God’s own truth, is that there is salvation in no one else, but Jesus.
A Personal Perspective – on the Brink of Suicide
Heady arguments have never been my thing. I’ve written what I’ve written to set out the facts as I know them, from God’s truth (yep, I know that might sound arrogant to you, I get that, but there you go).
As someone who made quite a financial success of his life as a young man, I really didn’t think I needed a crutch, or religion, or a “Saviour”. Not in a million years. And I like my friend Paul, I found the Christian “there’s only one way” dogma arrogant (and in my case, deeply offensive to boot).
But the more success, reputation and money that came my way in my jet-setting, international IT consulting career, the more I realised that something was missing. I knew that it was something really important. I yearned for it …. I just didn’t know what it was.
All I knew is that the longer I went without it, the more it hurt. The more empty, the more desperate I became. And that … that was so weird for a person that everybody else looked on as Mr Success and Mr I’ve-Got-My-Life-Together!
It’s a whole inside that became deeper and deeper, until it pushed me to the brink of suicide. I was literally standing on a ledge on the 8th floor of a building ready to jump.
But right there and then, I had a revelation of Jesus.
Man that sounds corny, doesn’t it? But … in my heart, I just felt to go back inside, kneel down and pray.
God if you’re out there, now would be a good time.
That’s all I had. That’s all it took. I still had many difficult and painful things to travel through but since the day I gave my life to Jesus (15th of October 1995) it’s been a completely new life. A life of peace, of joy and of power to overcome the human flaws that had so robbed me of life.
For me, it’s no longer an intellectual argument. But the truth is the truth.
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:21,23)
And knowing that truth is what has set me free.
My Prayer for You
I don’t know where you stand. Perhaps you’re a bit of a born again atheist, violently opposed to all things Christian. Or perhaps like my friend Paul, you have a bit of a bob each way – a Christian perspective based on the world’s ethos of pluralism.
Or maybe you’ve believed in Jesus, but it hasn’t been working for you.
Well wherever you are on your journey, know this.
I am praying that God will meet you out on your ledge when the time is right. I am praying that deep in your heart, He will give you a personal revelation of Jesus Christ so that you will know the joy, the peace and the life-changing power that comes from Him and Him alone. I am praying that you and I will have the rest of eternity together to rejoice in what He has done for you.
For there is no other name by which you can be saved. In Jesus’ name I pray these things for you. Amen.
Hi Bernie! While I am new to reading you, I can say how much I love your “every day man” way of talking. Others do too, but you strike me differently. As a Mother of a 19 year old son that was raised in a Christian home, I’m more than concerned for his lack of a relationship with Christ, despite his acceptance of Jesus and baptism at age 8. . I was not a Christian myself until age of 27 and I talk to him about the differences. Understanding it’s a difficult age and trying to become a man, he sees and witnesses the same hypocrisy in Christians that I did. Explaining that I made the mistake of making that an excuse not to accept Him, that it’s between he and God only, I am praying that resounds with him. I’ve saved this blog entry to share with him. I know he can get depressed, I do as well, and how you describe the only way to fulfill that emptiness is Christ, is encouraging to a man in particular. Not that it isn’t to me also, but your admittance to the near suicide attempt may ring true. I, myself, have ran that through my mind on too many occasions!! The enemy can be vicious, The lies. That “missing something” is there for him. He’s lost. My husband grew up Christian and speaks to him regularly without over doing. Yet, our son is still questioning. I’m going to share this blog with him. I have faith that God is working on his heart and will bring him back to the fold. I know so very many Christian parents go through this very thing. It can be heartbreaking to imagine your child, who you believed you did everything possible to raise them believing, walks away. Its the worst feeling. Questioning ourselves as parents and what we did wrong. Frightening, lonely at times, you ask God “why?” regularly, tears upon tears, beseeching the Lord to bring them back. Thankfully, God loves them even more than us! We continually release our son into His hands. It’s all we can do aside from constant prayer and speaking to him at opportunity with love, gently. I pray another parent going through what we are, will read your blog on this and my comment and know they’re not alone! There’s always hope. Always. Also, releasing them to Him, helps your burden and helps to give you peace. Keep praying He is working on their heart! HE DOES! We see it! Never give up and battle the enemy as never before! Your child’s soul depends on it!
Thank you Bernie! I will be a regular on your site and I thank God for leading me to you! Blessings upon blessings to you and your family! Also, to all of my sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ! I look forward to meeting each of you in Glory!!
In Christ, Joey
So very well put, Berni; concise and to the point. Where IS the room for argument?
Prayers from within the Body of Christ are Blessings indeed – thank you for blessing us so! Having eternity together to praise our LORD and Saviour for ALL He has done will be Joy indeed.
May He continue to bless you and Jackie abundantly, in all your endeavours for the Kingdom of God.
Colleen B, Cape Town, S.Africa
Hi Bernie, The reason why Jesus is the only way! Is that he is the only one who can wash us clean (when we accept Him as our Saviour and are washed clean of our sin by His shed blood), which makes us presentable to come into the presence of a Holy God. Not Muhammad, or Buddha, or Vishnu, or anyone else only Jesus. Only through Him can we lose our sin, our burdens, our guilt, we are set free and are able to enter Heaven at the end of our life in this World.
Bernie, you will never know how much your ministry has helped me. Your testimony and witness to Christ has been a real blessing and I pray God will uphold and strengthen you.
For a man, the hardest thing is to share and talk about feelings. Men are in particular carry unnecessary burdens in this world. A world which demands so much. When we are in the valley where else can we go but to the Good Shepherd. May the Lord God give men the strength to confide in our brothers and sisters. In Christ. Ian.
while I have never contemplated taking my own life there have been depressing times in my life that I have seriously thought about it, there has also been a time in my life when I thought that I was King Kong and that I could beat the world and had little thought about others. I did alright, but always something was missing, I don’t know the date and the period in my life that I started to feel a change in my attitude to my life, but it happened, I wasn’t a church going person, I hadn’t read the Bible but I started to search for what was missing in my life, I felt myself being drawn to and wanting to learn more about God and Jesus, over the years I have read the bible on a number of occasions and still to date read parts of the Bible each week, I found you and others that I resonated with and I get great joy out of listening to and reading the teachings and sermons on a daily basis.
I ask myself the question why do I feel so drawn to God and Jesus and the simple truth is that I get comfort and Joy each day by talking and praying to them in spirit and in truth.
It has been a long haul for me to build a relationship with God and Jesus in trying to overcome the man made issues that cause me fear and stress, it has been a difficult process for me to put my whole Faith and trust in them, I am still not there but I know that my Faith is growing, it is part of me, I desire it, people can talk about religious pluralism but I believe the Bible is the true word of God, it is the book of Life, Light and Love, dismiss it at your peril.
I cannot say what other people get out of their religious belief systems, But I do know this, my life has changed for the better spiritually, I want more of it and I would not change this belief and desire for any other cause.
Berni. The old saying goes along the lines of “… the truth hurts”. Sadly, not nearly as much as “lies”, “deception” or ” betrayal”. I’ve known Jesus since I was 5. His truth that ” I am the way” has not been a problem to me. It gives me even greater security knowing that I don’t have to keep changing my mind as to who to follow throughout my life in the hope that I find the right God eventually. For many others they just cannot handle this ( like Paul), but if I have to offend someone by stating something that I know is true, then so be it. I’ve learnt that they are rejecting a Saviour, not me. Thanks for this blog.
it is rare for Christians to talk about our (failed – thank God) suicide attempts. In some ways, it is a personal shame that strikes deep into my heart.
Thank you for your courage to speak about this.
Thanks Berni for your courage and honesty and also for a clear and simple explanation of the truth that is Gospel!